Cervical Facet Joint Injection

Cervical Facet Joint Injections for Effective Neck Pain Treatment

In some cases, our spine doctor may recommend cervical facet joint injections for your neck pain treatment. These injections are a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure that’s useful for diagnosing and treatment pain in areas such as:

  • Your neck
  • Your shoulders
  • In the upper back
  • Migraines and headache pain

Your facet joints connect the bones in your spine (called the vertebrae) and help with the guidance of your spine as you move around. There are seven vertebrae in the cervical region of your spine, the neck area, which has facet joints on both sides of the spine. They are only about the size of your thumbnail, but they play an important role in your movement and flexibility. If one is damaged or out of place, it could be the cause of the neck, shoulder, upper back pain or headaches that you are experiencing.

When your spine surgeon talks to you about your facet joints, they may call them by their technical name which contains a letter and some numbers. For example, they may say that you are experiencing issues in the left C4-5 facet joint. It breaks down like this:

  • Left because it’s on the left side of the spine
  • “C” because it’s a cervical joint
  • “4-5” because it connects the 4th and 5th vertebrae.

How Facet Joint Injections Work

If your spine doctor determines that facet joint injections are the right neck pain treatment for you, they will inject a steroid and anesthetic into the cervical joint that they suspect is causing the issue. Steroids in the injection will help treat the inflammation in the facet joint, which is likely to be the cause of your pain. Your injection could contain a numbing and anti-inflammatory medication that can help relieve your painful symptoms. If it does, your spine doctor will know that this is definitely the area that’s causing the issue and will be able to develop a treatment plan going forward.

What causes pain in a cervical facet joint?

There are a number of things that can cause damage to the cervical facet joints that can start to create painful symptoms in your neck and upper back. The pain can range from something that simply feels like tension in the muscles to a pain that’s severe and debilitating. This pain can be caused by:

  • Injury to the cervical facet joint
  • Damage to the cartilage inside the joint
  • Injury to the connecting ligaments around the joint

Damage to your cervical facet joints can manifest as pain from your head down to your lower shoulder blades and doesn’t necessarily have to occur in the neck.

What are the most common conditions treated?

  • pain in the shoulders and neck


  • To see if you are a good candidate for a cervical facet joint injection, take our pain evaluation questionnaire and someone from our office will follow-up with you as soon as possible.

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